State govt first okayed land near site for new capital; since project didn’t take off, land rate didn’t rise, so MLAs & MPs lost all interest
The land in Malsiring, 25 km from Ranchi, which the legislators’ housing co-operative rejected before zeroing in on HARP land.
RANCHI, OCTOBER 15: Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda may claim his government has not taken any decision on building homes for legislators on land used by ICAR’s Horticulture & Agroforestry Research Programme (HARP) for field trials of important crops.
But documents accessed by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act reveal that the legislators’ housing co-operative society — of which Koda is a member —first rejected land offered at another site, in Malsiring village. It was then that the government initiated the process of clearing HARP land for the society.
There’s a big difference in the market price of land in Malsiring and HARP land that the state cabinet is in the process of clearing for the society: the former sells for some Rs 2 lakh per acre; the latter, along the busy Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway, could sell for as much as Rs 1 crore per acre.
The documents show that the Vidhayak Evam Saansad Grih Nirman Swalambhi Sahkari Samiti Ltd was constituted in 2002 with 117 members, including Koda. Each member deposited Rs 75,000 with this society.
On August 3, 2004, the state government transferred 38.43 acres in Malsiring to the society. The village is where a new state capital was to be built, but the project was scrapped. With that, chances of the land price going up evaporated.
The revenue department asked the society to pay Rs 74.93 lakh and take the land but the society rejected the offer.
“When nobody was ready to take the land, we told the concerned officials to get us some other land,” said C P Singh, the society’s CEO. “We were then shown HARP land and we agreed to take it.”
Now that the state government is in the process of acquiring 85 acres of HARP land, the members seem upbeat. “We have made our preference clear,” said Singh.
On September 21 Dr Shivendra Kumar, principal scientist at HARP, wrote to the Ranchi deputy commissioner, pleading that the government move to acquire the project land had created a sense of uncertainty in the staff. There has been no reply.
And Koda is not ready to address Dr Kumar’s concerns. Asked for his reaction, he said: “We are looking into the veracity of his (Dr Kumar’s) claims.”